Gov. DeSantis’ “wave of popularity” continues to grow in latest poll

by | Mar 28, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis popularity among voters in Florida remains high according to the latest poll released by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI). The poll shows DeSantis enjoys a 54 percent approval rating among the registered voters surveyed. That’s up six points from last month’s BEPI survey. The poll shows 19 percent of the voters disapprove of the job DeSantis has done and 27 percent of voters unsure about the new governor.

Democrats were less enthusiastic about DeSantis, with 37 percent approving of his performance compared with 31 disapproval. Independents gave DeSantis 51 percent approval to 12 percent disapproval, while Republicans registered 72 percent approval and 11 percent disapproval.

The survey also shows voters support many of DeSantis’  public policy priorities, including the importation of prescription drugs from Canada to reduce costs to Floridians and the creation of a task force to reduce the impact of harmful algae blooms.

“The support is overwhelming among Floridians to import prescription drugs from Canada in an effort to lower prescription costs,” said Monica Escaleras, director of the BEPI. “It’s one of many popular proposals from Gov. DeSantis that has his honeymoon continuing in Florida.”

DeSantis is also receiving high marks for his proposal to create a task force to reduce the impact of harmful algae blooms, The poll shows 63 percent of the voters surveyed support the DeSantis’ water quality policies and 16 percent oppose them.

DeSantis has proposed an increase of more than $600 million in funding for Everglades restoration and to improve water quality across the state. DeSantis said Thursday morning that he has been pleasantly surprised by state lawmakers who have embraced his water quality policies.

“I’m pretty pleased where they came in on this water quality,” DeSantis said. “That’s not where they would have been absent of me making this a centerpiece. I thought we were going to be haggling near the end. Actually we’re pretty much going to get there no matter what happens at this point.”

Other proposals introduced by DeSantis are also enjoying popularity among the voters surveyed. The expansion of school voucher programs for middle-income families was supported by 52 percent support and 29 percent opposition. Banning fracking (also known as hydraulic fracturing) to explore for oil and natural gas was also popular, with nearly half of those surveyed (49 percent) supporting a ban on all kinds of fracking in Florida, while 31 percent oppose a ban.        

Florida voters by a margin of 46 to 34 percent support banning sanctuary cities to prevent local governments from passing ordinances that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Allowing teachers to carry firearms on school property was opposed by 50 percent of those surveyed, while 38 percent approved.

DeSantis’ strong showing among voters could be a positive sign for Republicans heading into the 2020 presidential election.

“Florida looks once again to be a key swing state in the upcoming elections,” said Kevin Wagner, professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of the Initiative. “Opinions on the performance of the president are sharply divided, but Republicans may be lifted by the continuing strong support shown for Gov. DeSantis.”

President Donald Trump’s approval rating among Florida voters rose to 44 percent, that’s up from 41 percent in the last poll, with 45 percent disapproval.

Asked if they think Trump has any responsibility for the recent rise in hate crimes, more than half of those surveyed believe Trump has some level of responsibility with 35 percent of Floridians saying he was very responsible and 20 percent saying he’s somewhat responsible.

The survey was conducted March 22-24 and polled 500 Florida registered voters and has a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percentage points.




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